King’s Health Partners has deployed a “ground breaking” research platform that has extracted anonymised data on 25,000 breast cancer patients.
The Oncology Research Information System (ORIS) pulls together information on all King’s Health Partners cancer patients.
The foundation trusts involved – King’s College London with Guy’s and St Thomas’, King’s College Hospital and South London and Maudsley – account for a quarter of the hospital beds in London.
The platform is based on IDBS’ Enterprise Translational Medicine Solution and the project has cost £2.9m in development so far.
Lars Engstrom, ORIS project lead and solutions architect, said the database went live in January this year and is now being evaluated to make sure that data loaded is correct and the platform has the capacity required.
It is pulling data from five source systems including a patient administration system and radiology imaging system. Approximately 25,000 patient records are currently held on the platform.
Researchers must go through an established process of presenting their study design in order to get ethics approval before they can access information on the database, Engstrom said.
The data is anonymised, but can be re-identified in certain cases where ethical approval has been sought in order to find patients to trial new therapies.
Engstrom said it could take scientists many months to find people suitable for a drug trial, but use of the database could reduce that to a week or so.
Subject to the evaluation, the plan is to use the platform for research into other types of cancer, as well as other specialities such as transplant, cardiovascular and musculo-skeletal medicine.
Guy’s and St Thomas’ group IT director Scott Sommerville said the research community was watching with interest how the breast cancer database progresses.
“There’s a lot of collaboration and discussion going on ‘about how useful are you finding this?’ and trying to identify other data sources to make the whole picture more rich and exciting for them,” he said.
The research database will initially be used by King’s Health Partners members, but can be expanded to other interested organisations. “This is pretty ground breaking,” Sommerville said.
“It’s the case that you cannot buy a tool like this anywhere in the world. There are elements of this architecture being worked on in various places in the world, but this is probably the most comprehensive architecture out there.”
“Do we believe it could have commercial value? – yes, but at the moment we’re just trying to prove the system.”